Come May 29, the country would witness the change of leadership baton from President Goodluck Jonathan to President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari(rtd), following the latter’s victory at the last presidential election on March 28. Definitely, one of the most looked-out for indicators to the seriousness or otherwise of the new administration in confronting the country’s many problems will be the composition of the federal cabinet.
Even when it still remains a closely guarded secret, such issue has become a subject of intense speculative debate. This is not unusual, given that Nigerians clamoured for change, especially after 16 years of being governed by a political party and administrations that many saw as being out of tune with the prevailing times.
No one doubts the sincerity of the new government to turn the country’s fortune for good. However, it would take more than good intentions and dreaming to achieve the desired results. One of the high points of the presidential system of government is the freedom it gives the Chief Executive to choose those he or she will work with without encumbrances of party dictates.
What it means is that a President can go beyond his political party to bring into the cabinet those in his or her judgments are capable of delivering on government promises. That is why we are calling on President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari not to renege on the promise to employ those technocrats capable of making all the difference in the quest to install good governance.
In doing so, we are not unmindful of the fact that he owes some consideration to his party being the platform, which he rode to power. However, such considerations should not trounce the need to seek out capable hands outside his party to occupy cabinet positions. Such diligent search is imperative in view of his vow to make the cabinet lean and responsive. Buhari should demonstrate the ability and foresight to move Nigeria forward by avoiding any temptation to fill his cabinet with deadwoods out of compensation. This is not time for undeserved political patronage.
Given the depth of the nation’s problems, we expect he brings aboard those to assist and guide him in crucial decision-making process. Importantly, all key ministries must be manned by those with thorough knowledge and understanding of how those institutions could be leveraged to turn the country’s battered fortunes around in the shortest possible period.
There is no gainsaying the first 100 days in office would be crucial to assessing the administration by Nigerians. How he goes about instilling confidence in the system will be a function of the ability of those in his cabinet. He should therefore shun all tardiness and even pressures from his party’s powerful barons, if ever he is to succeed in the arduous tasks ahead. In all, whether he will fill his cabinet with recycled sycophants, political hangers-on, praise singers or astute thinkers and visionaries will depend on him. However, he must have an eye on prosperity.